Tracks 1-14 recorded on iPad2 using Auria app from 3/2013 to 9/2014 in Dean's loft, Rob's basement studio and Mark's basement studio.
Tracks 1-14 mixed by Rob Gerbasi and mastered by TJ the Mixmaster on Fiverr.com
Tracks 15-29 recorded and mixed by Rob Gerbasi's basement studio among the spiders and centipedes.
All songs by Rob Gerbasi Copyright 2014.
Dumb Terminal Project is essentially the musical vision of multi-instrumentalist and producer Rob Gerbasi. He started recording on four-track machines in the nineties then eventually joined forces with cellist Dean Johnson and Mark Truesdell (percussion, multi-instrumentalist). This album is a compendium of the songs he has recorded over the years, numbering 27 on the deluxe edition (which includes original
solo versions of many of the songs). The music is lo-fi in the style of Daniel Johnston and you can hear the influence of early Beatles in many of the tracks. The musical style and instrumentation varies from song to song, which always keeps things interesting for the listener. La-di-da opens the album, a slyly humorous breakup song with a ramshackle charm that encapsulates the DTP basic sound of strummed
acoustic guitars and Gerbasi's likeable if not entirely pitch-perfect vocals. Broken Heart is another highlight, a melancholy country shuffle with some nice harmonica work. I Know How You Feel About Cats deserves a mention just for the title alone, as well as being a quirky and fun song, while the title track has some brilliantly unexpected chord changes, though not unusual for the lo-fi genre. The hook is simple but
effective and is one of the catchiest tracks on the album. Margaret adds some gorgeous trumpet into the instrumental blend (the wide range of
instruments used brings to mind The Band, who were maybe the first 'lo-fi' group) and Night School has a wonderfully quirky lyric that brought a smile to my face ("she's into night school..."), as well as having one of the best choruses on the album. Silvertone is a poignant and touching love song, though unusual for the fact that the object of his affection is literally an object, his guitar. This left of field, dryly humorous approach to songwriting is at the heart of what is appealing about alternative/lo-fi music and this was another highlight. Wrong Love/Lonely Man is perhaps the epic centrepiece of the album at seven minutes long, essentially two songs combined as the title suggests. Wrong Love is another tale of a relationship gone wrong like La-di-da, with a wonderfully odd sounding guitar solo. Lonely Man is the real revelation with a trio of gospel backing singers making an unexpected but welcome appearance. It's also the most directly emotional track,
singing in the third person but you suspect it's about himself. Dean Johnson gets to shine on this sad song, the naturally mournful sound of the cello suited to the material, weaving perfectly with the rich backing vocals. Definitely my favourite on the album. The melancholy mood continues with Strange Rain, this time a paean to the rain that
continues the rather bleak tone of Lonely Man, both similarly paced. The dry humour returns for the final track Shaun, presumably inspired by the film Shaun of the Dead. It features the fantastic line "The streets were still pretty quiet, except for the undead....". It's a suitably fun and quirky finale, replete with 'scary' sound effects that add to the humour.
Overall, this is a refreshing and enjoyable album that will appeal to fans of lo-fi and left of field music in general. It feels very much a labour of love, and the long gestation period of the album, spanning many years, gives the album a natural variety. Having said that, it still hangs together well as a cohesive piece of work. If you find yourself bored with cookie-cutter chart pop and autotuned vocals, you should try the authentic and quirky charm of Dumb Terminal Project.
Alex Faulkner (The Faulkner Review)